Updated: July 25, 2021 11:03:28 pm
The Sardar Sarovar dam in Narmada district, known as the lifeline of Gujarat, has recorded a decline in water level due to delayed monsoon, along with several smaller dams across the state, even as the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) has taken up surface treatment to prevent leakage for the first time since its construction in 1986.
On Sunday, the Narmada dam recorded 115.36 metres of water, while it had 120 metres on July 24. SSNNL officials say the dam has been drained on purpose during summer to allow leakage repairs as a delayed monsoon is not a worrisome issue.
A senior official of SSNNL told this newspaper, “The water year begins from July 1, and monsoon is counted until October 31. So, we are only 24 days into the water year and monsoon season. Considering the change in the monsoon pattern, we are likely to receive rains until October 15.”
The official added that 26 out of the 38 rain gauge stations in the upstream catchment areas, received rain in the past 24 hours. “Some numbers are not very significant but most of them have received good rainfall. Almost 34 of these stations are in Madhya Pradesh. So, it is very early to say if we will face a water deficit but at the moment we are taking the opportunity to undertake some maintenance and repair work of the structure,” the official said.
Confirming that for the first time since its construction in 1986, the dam — the third highest concrete dam in the country — is undergoing repair for leakage, the official said, “We have drained the dam this year by releasing water for irrigation during summer. The purpose is to allow the upstream surface of the dam or the dam structure on the side of the reservoir to undergo a leakage proof treatment. An area of 16,000 square metres is treated with chemicals to strengthen the structure and stop leakages. This is the first time that a leakage treatment is being undertaken for the entire width of the dam.”
Although the dam is receiving an inflow of about 15,000 cusecs of water from upstream in MP, the release from Sardar Sarovar is about 10,000 cusecs. “This is done so that the dam structure is exposed and leakage treatment can be undertaken. The leakage is under the permissible limit and this is an opportunity to complete the work,” the official said.
The six-step process of leakage repair involves cleaning, creating a V-groove gap, treating it with chemicals, and then coating three layers of paint.
SSNNL officials added that the water levels in Tava and Omkareshwar dams in Madhya Pradesh are much higher than last year, and with delayed monsoon, the dam reservoir level in Narmada will soon see a rise. The live storage in the dam on Sunday was at 555.25 million cubic metres.
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